We are proud to say that over the course of the last four years, Za’atar NGO has opened:
- a day-center for refugees and migrants which offers access to a lawyer, a psychologist, language classes, vocational training (fishing, tailoring, cooking and soon hairstylist)free hot lunch, trips around Athens, and much more!
- a shelter for up to 15 refugee women, alone or with their children, that we support in a holistic approach.
- Layali Shop: a boutique shop that is employing 14 refugees to sell their crafts (jewelry, clothes, art).
- Layali Salon: a beauty salon that has given the opportunity to 4 refugees.
And, most recently, Tastes of Damascus .
“Tastes of Damascus” opened its doors in February 2020. We offer a healthy, sustainable, vegetarian, and vegan menu with all the most famous Syrian dishes such as hummus, tabbouleh salad, and of course the iconic falafel plates and sandwiches. This project aims to bring together locals and newcomers in the city, breaking boundaries through sharing delicious food.
Za’atar NGO is a Greek registered NGO that was created in 2016 on the belief that refugees should not solely rely on the help they get from NGO’s and migration/asylum policies which offer temporary solutions creating situations of dependency. Instead, our philosophy is to focus on empowering refugees and migrants rather than pitying them.
Why a Falafel Shop?
One of our co-founders is Greek-Syrian, from a family that has owned falafel shops in Syria, Turkey, and Greece. One of their shops is still open and working in Idlib, Syria, while one was recently created by three cousins who came to Turkey as refugees. We would like to continue the family tradition of sharing our love for Middle Eastern cuisine, all while helping refugees to receive restaurant training, Greek language classes, along with their first real job in Athens.
Three groups of ten refugees and asylum-seekers (a total of thirty students) have already participated in our Cooking Training Class, taught by our chef at “Tastes of Damascus”. The classes take place in Greek in order to make sure our students have high chances of finding employment after completing the training.
Employees receive a standard salary while being trained to improve their cooking skills and their knowledge of the Greek language. The goal is that after a few months, our employees/students will be able to go work in another restaurant and maintain their job, allowing us to welcome more students to be trained.
Excitingly, Tastes of Damascus instantly became a hit in the neighborhood! This is mostly due to our wonderful community spreading the word through social media and word of mouth. We already have regular customers coming back for more!
What Will Your Donation Do?
Below we have listed most of the expenses we face in opening Tastes of Damascus falafel shop. Every penny of your generous donations will go directly to these expenses.
€ 1,000 Shop improvements: to improve our restaurant. For instance during the fall, we will need to pay to be able to close the terrace, renovate the toilet, etc.
€ 500 Kitchen & cooking equipment: cooking equipment
= 1500 euros.
We have already gathered some funds needed to get the ball rolling on this project, but we need more support to be able to make sure that this project will be successful. In every project, the first few months are always the most difficult. With the covid-19 pandemic, we had to shut down for two months and any support is more than welcome to help us continue the project.
We are now reaching out to you: can you help us?
Why support Za’atar NGO?
By continuing the Cooking Classes, expanding to it to be a comprehensive Restaurant Training Course, and opening Tastes of Damascus Falafel Shop, we would be making huge strides towards achieving our vision and objectives at Za’atar NGO; empowerment.
We believe that Tastes of Damascus Project is a worthy cause that will do a great deal of good for many refugees and migrants, and even the Athenian community as a whole. We are excited to make this project a reality, leading to substantial benefits every step of the way.
Donations can also be sent directly to our bank account (send us an email for more information) or through PayPal.
Should you have any questions, or wish to discuss this project further, please feel free to reach us out.
Our website and social media links:
Zaatar NGO's website
Project Layali's website
Zaatar NGO's Facebook
Project Layali's Facebook
- Secil Dagtas
- tonia koukounari
- Spyros Papadimitriou
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